Woman’s hefty phone bill shock

EAST Londoner Janet Churchill is devastated because two cellphone contracts on different networks were opened under her name using her ID book without her knowledge .

Last year, Churchill opened a cellphone contract at Cell C in Hemingways.

Janet Churchill

“I was running very late for work so they said I must e-mail and scan a copy of my ID and bank statement to them. That was the last time I used my ID copy via e-mail,” she said.

In March, she got a bill from Vodacom of R10350. She got a fright and when she called them she was advised to get an police affidavit to prove that she did not open the account.

“I had my ID in my handbag all this time and the last time I used it was in January when I opened the Cell C account. One of the letters said, the date of issue on my ID is not the same as the date of issue in the ID they had but they had my picture in it.

“The signature that they used was not mine. I got hold of the Credit Bureau and it displayed an address in 12 Milner Road, Woodstock in Cape Town and that is not me,”

Churchill even closed her bank account because everything was linked to it and opened up a new one. Telkom then called her for her new bank details and she did not give it to them. In between all this, she got an SMS from MTN to tell her that her account had been activated.

“I got a fright and asked what was going on and they told me that someone came to them three times with an ID book that looked like mine.

“They realised after the third attempt that it was not me because every time I take a contract, I take the cheapest one. They [scammers] took out the most expensive. So they blocked it straight away, they realised it was fraud.

“It’s not the kind of contract I would take. I am an MTN customer, have been for more than 20 years. When they wanted to open this account, they didn’t understand why suddenly I would go from the cheapest to the most expensive,” she said.

“I don’t know what else is out there. Maybe they are buying cars and houses under my name, I don’t know. If they were buying food, maybe I wouldn’t have made a big deal, but these are just not necessary,” she said.

She could not open a case because she does not have a person’s name but an address.

”I don’t know how they did it because my ID book has always been with me. That’s the scary part. When Vodacom came I thought it was a joke because I didn’t think if I had my ID book, someone else can have one. Fraud is not new but I never expected this,” Churchill said.

Both accounts have been cancelled because of the affidavit she wrote.

“They discovered that it was fraud.The police can’t help me until I get a name. Where am I going to get one?”

Police were contacted for comment, but they had not responded at time of going to print.

She urged the public to be vigilant to identity theft like this.

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